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Part 2: ♪♫ “Feelings…trying to forget my feelings…”♪♫, musings from a Virginia Beach Counselor

What are Feelings Anyway?

Feelings are reactions you have to things that happen in the world around you. These reactions serve to influence what we believe about ourselves and the world (…which in turn lead to more feelings). The truth is, the better you become at identifying your feelings, the more you’ll learn about yourself.

Because feelings are sometimes hard to spot, come in layers, and are multifaceted I like to refer to what I call the primary colors of emotions to help people begin to name what’s going on with them emotionally.

emotional regulation

I’ve found that these seven words ... FEAR, PAIN (SADNESS), ANGER, SHAME, GUILT, LONELINESS, JOY ... help people get back to the basics, get down to the nitty-gritty, and break up the confusion.

In fact, they are the words I was taught to use as I learned to identify my feelings. I still use these seven feelings today. I’ve yet to graduate from the primary colors when it comes to emotion!

Why do I need to be able to name my emotions anyway?

The issue is ... we can't do anything about our feelings. We can't manage them or learn to tolerate them until we can identify what they are.

Only after we name our feeling can we decide what to do about them. Because only after we name our feeling can we determine why its there in the first place ... what's its job ... what is it teaching us ... what action do we need to take?

Remember that quote I referenced in part 1? “How do you create an addict child? You teach them not to feel their feelings…”

The second part of the quote is this. It says,

“… Instead, help kids learn how to validate their feelings, not medicate them.

Then, tie them with truth.”

This, I believe, is a constant, but foundational part of the counseling process. As a counselor I get the privilege of helping people learn how to identify, express, and validate their emotions and then I get to help them tie their emotions to truth.

This is the second post in a 3 part series on feelings ... Check out Part 1 and Part 3

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